The Great Moscow Circus performers suffer for their art
From broken fingers to broken legs, many Great Moscow Circus performers have suffered for their art
He can squeeze himself into a tiny box, pop his back shoulder blades out, flex his abs in revolting waves and move his joints the wrong way round.
Yet, surprisingly, Emin Abdullaev - a contortionist who has been with The Great Moscow Circus for the past nine years - has never been seriously injured.
He is among 15 acts on show at The Great Moscow Circus, which runs until Nov 23 next to Marina Bay Sands.
The 25-year-old Russian had his first performance at the age of nine.
He told The New Paper at the show's press call under the Big Top at Bayfront Avenue last week: "The first thing I learnt was to do the split and after that, it was everything else."
His unusual art form has received interesting reactions from crowds all over the world.
Some people scream, squeal and find him weird, but there are others who are inspired by him.
He said: "Sometimes, I get letters from young children and they show me pictures of themselves doing different moves."
Abdullaev believes that anyone can do what he does by training to loosen up their joints.
"It is not impossible," he said.
But twisting and bending his body in unusual ways, can pose health risks. After every performance, his muscles are sore and he has to be careful not to go overboard and get injured.
Despite the risks that his career poses, he aims to continue doing it for as long as he can.
He said: "There is no age limit (for contortionists). I will be 50 and still twist my body to make people scream."
Another act that will make people scream is by The Douglas Gerling Daredevils, where the stunt motorcyclists whizz around at about 60kmh inside a steel globe.
The five stunt riders from Colombia are working with The Great Moscow Circus for the first time.
The group's leader, Douglas Gerling, 35, told TNP: "We are excited to be with The Great Moscow and also to have our first show with them in a country like Singapore."
Gerling, who was born in Colombia but grew up in Germany, spent three years in the German army and studied to be a paramedic.
By chance, he was assigned to an ambulance at a circus and instantly fell in love with the circus life. Two months later, he was performing.
He has fallen off his motorbike many times and has broken his leg, arm, shoulder and ribs. His worst injury was a broken arm, which left him out of the circus for eight months.
Gerling is committed to his craft. Together with his fellow stunt riders, they train every day for at least two hours when they are not too busy travelling.
"We work hard and I hope people will come to the show and see us perform our crazy stunts," he added.
One of the biggest acts is The Rubtsov Fast Track Acrobats. Showing great passion and dedication to their craft, the acrobats roll, jump and tumble through hoops and over one another at great speed.
The group has been with The Great Moscow Circus for 11/2 years.
The group's leader, Maxim Rubtsov, 40, began training for the circus when he was four. He is a third generation circus performer in his family.
He said: "The circus is in my blood and so ever since I was young, I knew what I wanted to do."
But even someone as experienced as him cannot escape from injuries.
"The acrobats, including myself , have broken our fingers and legs many times."
Rubtsov added that despite the injuries, he feels responsible for the crowd's happiness.
He said: "They paid money to see us so we must give our best each time."
He said that crowds love the act and always cheer and clap for them.
"Just take your emotions away, forget about your problems and enjoy the circus show because it is a place for you to sit back and enjoy."
Exclusive deal for TNP readers
Here is an exclusive deal for The New Paper readers: The Great Moscow Circus has rolled into town, and TNP readers can enjoy a 25 per cent discount on Category A to D tickets for shows on Nov 4 (6.30pm) and Nov 6 (12pm, 4pm and 7.30pm).
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Simply purchase your tickets online at Sistic (sistic.com.sg) and enter the promo code TNPGMC to enjoy the 25 per cent discount.